Princess Twilight Sparkle had been a naked human girl for almost thirty minutes, and she was rapidly growing acutely aware of her nakedness and the cold temperature of the Aethenaeum.
"That can't possibly be good for your spine," Moondancer said. "Why do these human creatures have their teats there of all places, anyway? It...it defies all logic..."
Twilight wrapped her arms around herself, shivering; her cheeks flushed faintly. "Celestia? Could you...conjure me up a robe or something? I'm getting chilly here. Also, Moondancer, could you stop that? I don't know why, but it's starting to really make me uncomfortable..."
Moondancer snorted and leaned low, examining Twilight's feet. "How silly it is to have what appear to be vestigial digits here...can you grab anything with those?"
"I can barely grab anything with these," Twilight said, wiggling her fingers. A blue cape materialized above her; she grabbed it and slung it about herself, tucking it in tightly. "Thanks," she said.
Celestia smiled and laughed softly. "Think nothing of it," she said. "Moondancer does raise a few valid points, though. Human anatomy is rather...odd."
"Tell me about it," Twilight said, rolling her eyes.
"And why are your teats so swollen?" Moondancer continued. "Is that normal for humans? Is their mammary capacity more closely related to bovines?"
"They're just...like that," Twilight said, blushing more furiously. "All my friends in the other world have them. Some are bigger than others. Sunset Shimmer's are REALLY big." She shrugged. "I think it's just normal for them."
Moondancer frowned. "Are they...productive?"
Celestia coughed delicately. "Girls? I do believe we can find more constructive uses for our time while we wait for this spell to wear off..."
* * * * *
Tirek had encountered a slight, annoying hiccup in his search for the source of magic.
He'd narrowed it down to one area of the school. Which, unfortunately, was one of the girls' bathrooms.
Even with his disregard for others and his fortunate diplomatic immunity, Tirek was not fool enough to tempt fate by barging into a girls' bathroom.
Upon the discovery of this particular problem, he had resolved to wait until after the students and faculty had all departed for the day, then begin his investigation.
"Brother, please," Scorpan begged as Tirek skulked around the halls. "Let's go home...I'm not comfortable with this..."
"Leave," Tirek snarled. "We are hardly joined at the hip."
Scorpan stared at him, then sighed and slunk away, slump-shouldered.
Keeping to the shadows and doing his best to remain unobserved, Tirek watched as the students of Crystal Prep trickled out of the building. The faculty began to disperse; that obnoxious woman Cinch locked up her office and left, her walk stiff and brusque.
The school seemed to finally be empty. Tirek strode down the hall, approaching the bathroom...
The door opened, and Dean Cadance strode out, a disturbed, confused look on her face. She blinked as she noticed him, her mouth pursing into a small 'o'.
Then he heard sneakers squeaking on the tiles, and looked up to see a lavender-skinned girl with glasses skidding up the hall, a homemade-looking device of some sort clutched in one hand. She screeched to a halt, bracing herself against a row of lockers and panting. "I'm...here..." she wheezed. She blinked as she looked up. She saw Tirek and let out a startled yelp, backing away and pinwheeling her arms. "Uwah!"
The girl's panic seemed to stir something in Cadance, and she came back to her senses, folding her arms and giving Tirek a stern look. "What are you doing hanging around outside the ladies' room?"
Tirek gave her a defiant stare in return. "I am merely in the hallway, Dean Cadance. That there happens to be a restroom here is of no—"
The thing the lavender girl held in her hand suddenly emitted a shrill, piercing shriek.
At the same time, the crystal pendant hanging around Tirek's neck lit up bright red.
The light and heat of a blazing fire filled the open doorway behind Cadance, and three heads snapped around to stare.
"Get BACK HERE, Philomena!" a female voice hissed from somewhere in the room. In the middle of the bathroom, a bird seemingly made entirely of fire let out a shrill cry, gliding over the toilet stalls.
"Wh-wh-wh-wh-wh-wh—" the lavender girl stammered, eyes wide.
Tirek's eyebrows rose. "A phoenix?" he murmured. "They exist?"
The sprinklers went off, followed by the fire alarm.
The phoenix shrieked angrily and dove directly into the mirror, disappearing into it without incident.
The three observers stared at each other.
Tirek's pendant stopped glowing, and the girl's device fell silent.
A dripping wet Cadance rushed down the hall and turned off the fire alarm and the sprinklers, then pulled out her phone. "Yes, this is Dean Cadance of Crystal Prep. Yes, we just had a fire alarm here. It was a student smoking in the restroom that set it off. There's no need to send emergency response. Thank you. Yes, kids will be kids. Yes." She disconnected and put her phone away, then walked back up to the others.
The girl wiped some water off her device and put down the hood on her sweatshirt, shaking out her messy violet hair. She produced a plastic-wrapped packet of tissues from the pocket of her jeans and tried to wipe off her glasses. She glanced at Tirek, tilting her head. "That pendant...it was reacting to that...that..."
"Phoenix, yes," Tirek rumbled, stroking his chin. "An actual phoenix...fascinating."
The girl blinked. "That was a phoenix? But they're...mythical..."
Cadance shook her head. "I dunno, Twilight. It was a bird, it was on fire...sure sounds like a phoenix to me." She glanced at Tirek, raising an eyebrow. "Now, what were you saying about just happening to be standing there?"
Tirek paused, carefully measuring his response. He glanced at the girl—Twilight—and frowned thoughtfully. "Ladies...I'm beginning to get the impression we're all searching for the same thing." He looked at Twilight. "You there. That device. What is it for?"
Twilight jerked sharply. "I-it's...I'm measuring strange energy patterns I've been detecting for the last several months," she stammered. "Th-they started showing up across town at C-Canterlot High, a-and now they're here, and...and we all saw that...that BIRD..."
"Canterlot High," Tirek said thoughtfully. "Interesting. You have data on these energy patterns?"
Tirek smiled. "Twilight, was it?"
"Y-yes," she said. "Twilight Sparkle."
Tirek's smile widened into a frightening grin. "Twilight Sparkle...I believe we can be of use to one another..."